At 11:20 PM a call to 911 came in from Jeremy Banks: “my girlfriend just shot herself.” Thus began one of the more celebrated, and debated, death investigations in Florida history. Banks, a young Sheriff’s deputy, claimed a distraught Michelle grabbed his service revolver while he was elsewhere in the house, aimed into and down her own throat, and pulled the trigger. Michelle’s family and friends, and many others, concluded that Banks forced the gun into her mouth and executed her.
Extensive coverage by local newspapers was only the beginning of attention to the case–from CNN to NBC Dateline to PBS Frontline to the Dr. Phil Show, and beyond, the case became a national, even international phenomenon. Several levels of investigators and prosecutors have now combed over the case, generally concluding that no conclusive evidence of a crime, on which to base a prosecution, exists. It’s unlikely there will ever be a criminal trial. The case recedes into history.
What really happened that night? Some evidence is contradictory, but does that make the suicide vs. murder dilemma a fifty-fifty proposition? Does one of the scenarios emerge as distinctly more plausible than the other?
Join our exploration of the case that Frontline simply called “A Death in St. Augustine.”
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